Hero by Divine hand


Perseus was the offspring of Zeus and Danaë, the child of Acrisius, King of Argos. Frustrated by his lack of luck in begetting a son, Acrisius consulted the soothsayer at Delphi, who informed him that he would one day be killed by his daughter’s son. To keep Danaë childless, Acrisius confined her in a metallic chamber, exposed to the sky, in the yard of his palace: This mytheme is also related to Ares, Oenopion, Eurystheus, etc. Zeus came to her in the form of a shower of gold and impregnated her. Soon after, their child was born; Perseus—”Perseus Eurymedon, for his mom gave him this name as well” (Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica IV). Frightful for his future, but reluctant to provoke the vengeance of the gods by eliminating the child of Zeus and his daughter, Acrisius cast the pair into the sea in a pine chest.Danaë’s fearful prayer, made while afloat in the darkness, has been expressed by the poet Simonides of Ceos. Mother and child washed ashore on the island of Serifos, where they were taken in by the fisherman Dictys (“fishing net”), who raised the boy to manhood. The brother of Dictys was Polydectes (“he who receives/welcomes many”), the king of the island. Perseus wedded Andromeda in spite of Phineus, to whom she had before been engaged. At the wedding, a fight took place between the rivals, and Phineus was turned to rock by the display of Medusa’s head that Perseus had had. Andromeda (“queen of men”) accompanied her husband to Tiryns in Argos and enhanced the ancestress of the line of the Perseidae who ruled at Tiryns by her son with Perseus, Perseus. After her death, she continued placed by Athena amongst the stars in the northern sky, near Perseus and Cassiopeia. Sophocles and Euripides (and in more contemporary times Pierre Corneille) made the scene of Perseus and Andromeda the legend of melodramas, and its disturbances were represented in many old works of painting. As Perseus was flying in his return above the dirt of Libya, according to Apollonius of Rhodes, the falling tears of Medusa’s blood created a race of poisonous serpents, one of whom was to kill the Argonaut Mopsus. On reverting to Seriphos and learning that his mother had to take shelter from the violent advances of Polydectes, Perseus halted him with Medusa’s head and made his sibling Dictys, consort of Danaë, king.

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